BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Reviews Advertising For Triops’ Grow-Your-Own Dinosaur Kit

New York, NY – Feb. 10, 2009  The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that Triops Inc. modify packaging for its “Triassic Triops” grow-your-own dinosaur kit, to assure child consumers understand that distilled or bottled water is required.

The company’s packaging for the kit came to the attention of CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, through CARU’s ongoing monitoring.  

The statement, “just add water” appeared on three different areas on the package.  However, directions included with the kit specified that distilled water or spring water must be used.  Additionally, a continuous light source was required to keep the tank at a constant temperature.

Following its review of the packaging, CARU determined that one reasonable takeaway message conveyed to children by the packaging was that ordinary tap water could be used with the kit. In reaching its determination, CARU considered the prominence and the frequency with which the claim, “just add water” appeared on the packaging. CARU recommended that the advertiser modify its packaging to better inform child consumers.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement that while “we continue to disagree that ‘just add water’ is deceptive … we are cooperating with CARU for the current packaging we are designing. That packaging will now advise the buyers to the effect that they can just add bottled water and an artificial light source to hatch Triops. We hope this eliminates the issues CARU had with our product and indicates our good faith with its efforts.”

“We appreciate the company’s participation in the self-regulatory process,” said CARU Director Wayne Keeley.